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Four weeks ago I contacted the department of the University to ask whether there are PhD positions open. They emailed me some questions I needed to fill in and said that they will review my application and let me know if they have something available for me as soon as possible. After two weeks, I sent a follow-up email asking if there was already some news about my application, but they didn't respond.

Now, two weeks after that follow-up email, I still haven't heard anything. Is it okay to send a second follow-up email? How should I formulate it? I don't want to seem annoying and intrusive. On the one hand, I'm willing to be patient as I really want to pursue a PhD at that faculty, but on the other hand, if they don't offer me a position, I need to start looking for other positions as soon as possible.

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  • Trust them to "let you know". And follow astronat's advice to send out a bunch of applications now.
    – Buffy
    Mar 29 at 12:37
  • What country? . Mar 30 at 17:28
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It's typical to apply for multiple (10+) PhD positions simultaneously, rather than sequentially. Don't wait to hear back from this place, just send your other applications now. It's fine to ask again about your application, but this time ask for the date by which you can expect to have a decision.

Here's a suggestion for how to formulate the email (you can modify it according to the specific details of your situation):

Dear Prof. X,

Last month I applied for a PhD position in your department. Do you have any further news about my application, or an idea of when you might make a decision? I am really excited about this opportunity and look forward to hearing from you soon.

Best wishes,

MDG1999

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    The first part of this answer is most important, I think. Would you still recommend the bottom part knowing they inquired 2 weeks ago? Maybe something more like... Could you clarify what the typical timeline for this type of decision is at your lab/department/university?”
    – Dawn
    Mar 29 at 14:38
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Another factor may be if the department hires a pool of students that are afterwards matched with supervisors after a year or so of courses, or if new students enter a research group directly. In the latter case, you could reach out to your potential supervisor. In certain cases it is in fact beneficial to reach out to possible supervisors ahead of time.

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